Men's Intuition

Men’s Intuition. Is that an oxymoron like government intelligence? Trumpcare?

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Once upon a time, I had been a life coach to kids. There were two basic tenets that I followed. One: Listen to them. Whatever they told me, no matter how ridiculous, I would hear them out. The reason was simple. I don't have the ability to read minds. To help them deal with whatever they had been going through, I depended on them to tell me. And because I didn't judge them for what they had told me, they felt free to tell me anything without fear of repercussions.

Two: I used my intuition to try and read in between the lines. Be it through their word choice, body language, and what their parents had communicated to me.

Women have always been the ones credited with having intuition. Studies have shown that to be true. But I think the reasons as to why women can read people better than men is because they were allowed to feel and express their emotions, where men were taught/scolded to hide them.

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Hence, our communication problems between the sexes.

In saying that, all humans have the ability to read each other. Some are better than others, but still.

I went to a party and met this beautiful woman. I was my charming self, of course, which usually meant that people run for the hills because I'm pretty direct. Self-censoring has been an issue. Not for me. For other people. Because I don't censor much. She and I traded numbers. We went out to dinner. Once. Afterward I knew I didn't want to date her. Friends asked me how my interest had fallen so quickly. I didn't know why. Initially, I thought it was because I was afraid to start something up, having just broken off a relationship. I did try to come up with reasons, but they all sounded false to me. She and I hung out. Became friends. And it was through our time together that I figured out why I hadn't pursued anything further than just a friendship.

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Listing out those reasons aren't important here. What's important was that my intuition, this silent voice within me, had pretty much killed my hard on for this woman. I could have taken the blue pill to liven my serpent, but that was not the issue. There had been no issue. And my fear that I didn't want to start anything up so soon after a breakup sounded reasonable, but that wasn't the truth either.

Often times when I'm at the gym, I want to talk to a girl. Sometimes I hesitate, which pisses me off. Women want men to approach them. So when I don't, I feel like a wimp. So I thank my intuition when I see their boyfriend come up and give them a hug or a kiss. Now, I'm not saying that every time I hesitate, the girl has a boyfriend or would be bad for me. But we as humans, especially in a world where intuition isn't relied upon as much, need to trust and cultivate it.

We probably act against this innate wisdom more often than not. The question is how do we know the difference between that truth versus our irrational fear that stops us from living life?

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First, we need to stop beating ourselves up when we don't do what we wanna do, or forget something, or fail. Beating yourself down is one sure way of numbing your intuition. When a parent yells at their child enough times, the child will stop talking/communicating to them. So when we beat ourselves, we'll either stop listening to our intuition, or you'll quiet its silent voice. Sometimes, if not all the time, our hesitations, forgetfulness and failures happen for a reason. Learn from them. See if you can get past them. Failure is the greatest teacher. It tells us that the thing we tried doesn't work. Now we know.

Second, when (irrational) fear doesn't involve death, maybe we let go of the break and stomp on the gas pedal and don't run over anyone. If you're dating someone, and it doesn't work out, then take the time to learn from the experience. If you want to start your own business, and it doesn't work out, try and figure out why. What you'll find is the experience that you've accumulated while trying something out will help guide you in your next adventure, be it love or business. And that's the great thing about life. The experiences. People get on rollercoasters because of the ups and downs and the twists and turns. Not to reach the end of the ride. People watch scary movies because they want to be frightened. Not to reach the rolling credits. What makes life memorable is the craziness. But if we let our irrational fear stop us from doing anything worth while, then is life worth living?

Make Perfect Mistakes

Look at the board!

Look at the board!

I was talking to my best friend, whose wife had just given birth to a son, about the best way to practice writing. Taking heed to Buddha's words, I said dive into the work. He went on to tell me his preferred method. That he analyzed other writers' work to find what made it click. That he worked with a writing coach. That he practiced specific techniques that he found valuable. And that practicing needed to be perfect practice.

I then calmly asked him, "What the hell is perfect practice?"

To me, it sounded like you couldn't make mistakes while practicing when it's really the best time to make mistakes. It's those mistakes that we make in practice or immersed in our work that can give us some of the most profound insights. I told him there's no one correct way of doing anything well.

It's the geniuses, the innovators that create the rule, the market. Just look at the world of media. We have books and TV shows about wizards and vampires and wolves.

Eddy: I will suck your blood.  Buffy: I'll suck your blood, sucka!

Eddy: I will suck your blood.  Buffy: I'll suck your blood, sucka!

When I had my teaching and mentoring business, I was all about changing behavior. Shit. I was one of the laziest people I knew. I watched TV to no end. I had little passion for anything, or at least I thought I had little passion for anything. I slept for most of the day when I could. That was the life! Then something changed. A yearning grew. Not that yearning. Well...not the place to discuss.

I started to think about the things I wanted. Things I wished to accomplish. And somehow I was disciplined enough to go to the gym, write, have a social life, teach, and still have free time to just chill. How did I become disciplined? Hell if I know.

Hey! Up here!

Hey! Up here!

Actually, they were things that I wanted to do. Loved to do. I mean going to the gym was easy. There's a lot of hot chicks there.

During the years that I taught, I made a slow discovery. As awesome a teacher as I was, I couldn't make my students do anything. Yes, they listened to me. Yes, they behaved when I shushed them. But they eventually fell back to their shenanigans.

What I could do was listen to them, guide them toward their own well being, help them realize their own potential in real time physical exercises, and help them realize what they truly wanted in life. Their behavior was outside of my reach, outside of anyone's reach, except their own.

Your Breath Stinks
Your Breath Stinks

One parent came up to me and was extremely concerned about her child's time management skills. He loved to procrastinate. She was my client, so I did my best to try and change that behavior, asked him why he procrastinated, gave him specific things to do to swerve him from waiting till the last minute.

He made the changes for a day. Then he reverted back to his old ways. His grades never improved from the mostly A's and B's he already received. I know, I know.

Now in college, I asked him how school was going. He loved it, tried a slew of different things, as I suggested, so he could have a better idea of what he might love to do in life. I asked him how his grades were. Mostly A's and B's.

I asked him if he was ok with that. Totally fine, he answered.

Do you still procrastinate, I asked. He reluctantly nodded.

I laughed, told him that this was his method and that it seemed to work. If he felt bad about his grades, that he wanted to improve, then changes may need to be made (depending on why he felt bad). Since everything was fine, there was nothing to do but catch up on old times.

I had told my best friend this story, as he's also close to this family, and the silence on the phone meant he didn't agree.

He has his way toward excellence. I have mine. And as long as those methods work for us without any feelings of guilt or anxiousness, but with peace of mind, then whose to say that were wrong?

Do Ya Hear Me?

Propaganda.  We've all seen it.  Heard it. "Elect me and I will save the world."

"Read my lips:  no new taxes."

I've worked in many corporations.  The one thing they all do is shell out propaganda.  They hail how innocent and awesome they are.

When I turn on my computer at work, the homepage is locked to our intranet webpage.  Every day we're bombarded by propaganda.  Sometimes I feel chained.

So it was a bit entertaining for me to read an article my company posted about why teens are angry.  They even had a doctor share some advise.  I mean, he's got a PhD.

"I think zombies are defined by behavior and can be "explained" by many handy shortcuts: the supernatural, radiation, a virus, space visitors, secret weapons, a Harvard education..."  -Roger Ebert in reviewing The Crazies.

The doctor's article was a magnificently crafted and well written piece of crap.  I found one crucial thing missing.  And upon teaching and mentoring kids for most of my adult life, there has become no one-size-fits-all advice, save one.

Listening.

I had a student once whose parents put him under so much pressure to do well in high school that he was on the verge of suicide.  At first I thought, "What did I do?"  But it had been a year since the end of our sessions.  So I thought back to them to see what was the root cause of such destructive behavior.

My student and I had taken a walk one day and just talked.  My approach in teaching, despite coming from a very tier-structured martial arts background, was to view any student as an equal.  I'm not a teacher.  They are not students.  We are human beings.

The subject of ivy league education came up, something his parents expected of him.  I asked him if he wanted to go.  He answered yes.  There was a lot of trepidation in his voice.  So I asked him if he was sure.  He slumped his shoulder and said he really didn't care about going to an ivy league school.  That he was happy to just receive a normal (whatever that means) education.

I presented what I'd learned to his parents and, of course, they were upset.  Like I had opened Pandora's Box.

A couple years later, he was on the verge of suicide.

Being loving parents, they got the best help they could afford.  Interestingly enough, the parents were instructed to relieve all pressures of any kind, which included the pressure of school, and to allow him to express himself in anyway he wanted to.

Today, I'm very glad to say he's thriving.

We talk so much about listening when in intimate relationships.  But we rarely talk about it when it comes to raising children.

I tell parents that their children are like people (wink wink).  Treat them like people.  Ask them how they feel.  What they want? Why do they want or feel that way?  Is there anything they need?  If not, let them know you'll be there with no judgement.  For judgement is the lock that will shut the door to their children.

Be open with them, and they'll be open with you.

In my lessons, I let my students, no matter the age, say what they want.  Swearing included.  I do give advice, if they want, but I tell them it's up to them to follow it.  My mentoring process changes as they change, which is why I believe there is no one-size-fits-all guide to children.

Just listen.

Listen to Me!

A pet peeve of mine is people not listening to each other when they talk.  It's one thing if passersby just greet each other.  But it's another thing when I talk to a friend, and the next time I talk to them I have to repeat what I told them last time.  Weren't you listening to me?  And if you weren't interested, then why do you ask what I've been up to.  In listening to other people, I can tell who's listening and who is only hearing. Want to be more charismatic with people?  Listen.  It's one of the biggest complaints women have of men.  But when I talk to women, a lot of them don't listen.  And they wonder why guys don't listen to them.

A couple of days ago I was in the lunch room.  Three ladies were sitting at a table.  A feast spread in front.  I was listening to them talk.  I do this a lot.  As a former student of acting, and now an author, I listen to people speak, toreadthem.  It's a great way to learn what natural dialogue sounds like.  I've heard industry professionals theorize endlessly about natural dialogue, but just listening to others is the best way.  The best way to learn a new language is to submerge yourself in it.

But here's another pet peeve of mine:

Lady #1:  Your son. He worked on Sunday?

Lady #2:  Well, you know, he, uh, you know, like, he works on Sundays, you know.

Lady #1:  Why?

Lady #2:  You know, he, you know, like, gets paid more, you know, um, Sundays. He even like, uh, worked on Mother's day. You know? (laughs)

I can't stand filler words.  I use them.  But not like that.  It was like watching the adult channel through all the fuzz because I wasn't subscribed to it.  And this lady was in her fifties.  The above is exactly how she spoke.

One thing that authors have to keep in mind as we write dialogue is where the person comes from.  When researching for a character, there are several things that will affect their speech:  occupation, gender, age, culture, education, quirks, passions.  The list could go on and on, which can make writers go crazy trying to figure out speech patterns.  Lucky for us that 90% or more of speech is the same for everyone.

Dude #1:  Hey, wassup?  What you been up to?

Dude #2:  Man! Long time. Uh, not much. Just pluggin' away, hangin' out, terrorizing chics.

Dude #1:  Aw dude. I got this one chic...

The dialogue is fairly normal until the dudes rudely call women chics (wink), but a lot of guys do that.  But scenes aren't made up of these normal everyday things.  Scenes usually get heated with conflict, tension, suspension.  So if we look at two guys who're betting against each other, ten thousand dollars on the line on a basketball game, they'll not only use lingo that pertains to basketball.  Their speech will get excited as the teams battle back and forth.

Heed the endless babbling of industry professionals as they theorize about dialogue.  But it's way better and much more fun listening to others.  Read them.  Create mini stories as you listen.  I do this every day.

If you want to learn specific techniques about dialogue, check outBeyond Structure.